NATIONAL TRAIL CONFERENCE
These Bulldogs still have fight in them
Altamont, Dieterich, Neoga part of the hunt

BY JACK BULLOCK
The National Trail Conference battle for the top last winter turned into a two team race with Dieterich and Effingham St. Anthony ended up tied for the regular season honors at 7-1 each.

The Movin' Maroons, under head coach Josh Krumwiede, won the regular season battle at home against St. Anthony.

The Bulldogs and head coach Cody Rincker won the rematch that occurred in the NTC tournament championship scrum, a 53-48 triumph.

Both teams won regional titles last season with Dieterich edging Odin at the 1A Patoka Regional while Effingham St. Anthony derailed Shelbyville to win the Vandalia 2A Regional championship.

Both also lost their next postseason games to end their respective seasons

For 2018-19 the Bulldogs suffered big-time graduation losses with seven seniors walking away after a run which produced three consecutive regional titles with a 1A state championship in 2016-17.

Dieterich, also, sent away some good players in the spring after also grabbing three-straight regional titles.

The best news for both programs is that kids are roaming the halls that will be ready to step forward.

The Altamont Indians and Coach John Niebrugge went 6-2 last season in the NTC, 18-12 overall, as this coach continues to get results from this program.

The program has numbers with a lot of players “chomping at the bit” to get started in 2018-19.

They, too, also brought home a regional title from a year ago, edging St. Elmo/Brownstown to win at Hutsonville/Palestine, an 80 mile one-way trip they had to make twice that week.

The title game win over the Eagles gave the school their fourth regional title since four-class basketball began.

Look for this program to again be in the hunt for the league title as this coach has a good group coming up from the JV team that went 10-3 overall last season.

Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg has a new coach as Bob Lockhart moves over from Neoga handle the duties for the Hatchets.

The cooperative between the school was off and then back on again this past summer as a new deal was worked out.

Neoga, in turn, hired Andrew Snow who was a former assistant at South Central under Rick Simmons.

South Central also has a new coach in place with Blake Doehring, a former Vandalia player, assuming the coaching duties after Jamie VanSyoc moved into administration at the school.

North Clay and head coach Josh Zink got things moving forward last season as the Cardinals made their first season in the NTC a pretty good one, going 3-5 in the league and 12-17 overall.

St. Elmo/Brownstown lost three seniors to graduation and will need to have some kids “take the leap” into more varsity minutes.

The Eagles ended the season with title loss to rival Altamont, 58-55.

The Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City Bobcats will be under new leadership as Donovan Riley replaces Marc Bain as the head coach of the coop.

Things didn't go well last season for the Red and Blue, finishing just 5-23 overall and 1-3 in the EIC.

Four seniors are now gone and the rebuilding will commence with a new mentor in control.

Look for St. Anthony, Dieterich and Altamont to aim for the National Trail Conference honors in the regular season and also will be the ones to watch in the annual league tournament.

For complete team-by-team previews, click on the team links below.

ABV Projected Order Of Finish